Rennes boss Julien Stéphan has to cope with an injury pile-up as he looks to guide his team back to top form in Saturday's Breton derby with Stade Brestois 29 (kick-off 5pm CET/4pm GMT).
After going unbeaten in their first five matches of the season, including a run of four consecutive wins, Rennes have picked up just two points from their last three Ligue 1 Uber Eats outings.
They lost their first match of the campaign at home to Angers SCO last time out, and then were beaten — and outplayed — by Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
The game in Spain was costly as new signing Daniele Rugani was forced off with a thigh injury in the first half and Benjamin Bourigeaud now joins him in the treatment room after also needing to come off the pitch early in the second half of the 1-0 defeat.
WATCH: Rennes lose first game of the season to Angers
"What worries me most is the injuries, because they're muscle injuries and it's not a good sign," explained Stéphan, who was also without Edouardo Camavinga in midweek due to injury.
"That means that the players' bodies are already tired, despite having been well prepared. It's a shame. Regarding our current run, it's too early to worry, even if I'm well aware that the number of points we've picked up in the league of late is insufficient. The worry comes from the physical condition of certain players."
An eleventh-hour suspension for Steven Nzonzi deprived the FIFA World Cup winner of a reunion with his former club in Seville, but he should return to bolster a Rennes midfield in which Jonas Martin should again feature.
Clément Grenier, who was also included in the starting XI in Spain, could play again given Bourigeaud's problems and with Camavinga still likely to be sidelined. With Rugani out, Nayef Aguerd, who replaced the a summer arrival from Juventus in midweek, will return to the back four.
Stéphan will have to consider whether to continue with Brandon Soppy at right-back or return Hamari Traoré to his usual role and bring Dalbert Henrique back at left-back as Rennes seek to add to Brest's problems on the pitch.
WATCH: Brest beaten by Strasbourg
The visitors to Roazhon Park have lost their last two league matches, conceding three times in each game, though coach Olivier Dall'Oglio believes the scorelines do not reflect his team's performances.
"We're conceding a lot of goals, but we're not giving away many chances," he explained. "We're making too many individual mistakes, and that's what's costing us. It's not really going for us. We're not being overrun in games. What's hurting is what opponents are doing. There's no physicality, that's causing us a problem, and we're sometimes lacking concentration at key times. I have to find solutions, that's my job."
The game would normally be a sell-out, but with France having gone into a national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic barely 24 hours before kick-off, the derby will be lacking its usual atmosphere.
"We're not going to enjoy playing behind closed doors, especially a derby that has a lot of significance for the fans," Dall'Oglio explained. "With 5000 people, it was still quite good. But we're fortunate to still be able to play games, that's good. We'll adapt to the situation."
Rennes: Gomis, Traoré, Sa Silva, Aguerd, Truffert; Del Castillo, Nzonzi, Léa-Siliki, Doku; Hunou, Terrier
Brest: Larsonneur; Duverne, Chardonnet, Brassier, Perraud; Lasne, Belkebla; Faivre,Charbonnier, Cardona; Mounié